The Surge in Clean Energy Usage Curbs Global Emissions Spike in 2023

According to a recent IEA report, although global energy consumption increased, the rise in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions related to energy increased less strongly in 2023 than it did in the previous year.

The Role of Clean Energy Technologies in Mitigating Global CO2 Emissions

Without clean energy technologies, the rise in CO2 emissions over the last five years would have been three times higher. Reports corroborate this because, in 2023, emissions reached a record high of 37.4 billion tons after rising by 410 million tonnes, or 1.1%, from the previous year’s growth of 490 million tonnes.

China, the US, and other economies faced a massive drop in hydropower because of severe droughts. This resulted in a rise in emissions of over 40% in 2023, as countries mostly turned to fossil fuels to make up the difference.

To better explain, worldwide CO2 emissions from the production of electricity would have decreased last year. This would have resulted in a far smaller overall increase in energy-related emissions if not for the exceptionally low output of hydropower.

Tracking the Deployment of Sustainable Technologies

The latest results are based on the IEA’s annual update on CO2 emissions related to energy worldwide. Furthermore, the Clean Energy Market Monitor is the first in a new series that tracks the deployment of clean energy technologies for a chosen set of technologies. It also provides insights into the implications for the global energy markets as a whole.

In 2023, advanced economies experienced a record-breaking decrease in their CO2 emissions despite growing GDP. As coal demand returned to levels not seen since the early 1900s, its emissions reached a 50-year low. 

Strong renewable energy deployment, the shift from coal to gas, increased energy efficiency, and reduced industrial production all contributed to the drop in emissions in advanced nations.

For the first time, at least half of the electricity generated in developed nations last year came from nuclear and renewable energy sources with minimal emissions.

Clean Energy Technologies as Catalysts for Sustainable Development

The growth of clean energy from 2019 to 2023 was twice that of fossil fuels. According to new IEA research, the previous five years have seen a significant decrease in the demand for fossil fuels, which has created an opportunity to accelerate the shift away from them this decade.

For example, the increasing proportion of electric vehicles on the road—one in five new car sales worldwide in 2023—also contributed significantly to preventing the rise in oil consumption (measured by energy content) over pre-pandemic levels.

Takeaways

In 2023, the extraordinary growth of clean energy technology prevented a faster increase in worldwide energy-related CO2 emissions despite a surge in global energy demand. In addition to slowing the rise in CO2 emissions, this move toward sustainable technologies opens the door for a more eco-friendly energy sector.

Last Updated on June 8, 2024 by News Editor

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